Israel weighs strike against Gaza Strip

Israel weighs strike against Gaza Strip

Israel weighs strike against Gaza Strip

A police bomb squad officer carries the remains of a rocket that was fired from the Gaza Strip. EPA photo

After 24 hours of violence on its Gaza border, the second such flare-up in less than a month, Israeli officials and commentators were yesterday weighing the prospect of a major new military operation against Gaza.

A truce floated overnight appeared to be unraveling yesterday morning, with Gaza militants firing 11 rockets at southern Israel and the Israeli military saying it had carried out several overnight air strikes on targets in northern and southern Gaza.

Mixed opinions

Commentators said the warnings reflected discussions within the government about how to respond to the violence, with options ranging from a large-scale military operation to increased air strikes and the targeting of top militants under consideration.

“In his statements in the Cabinet meeting [on Nov. 11], Prime Minister Netanyahu tried in effect to prepare public opinion for the possibility of such an operation,” Yossi Yehoshua wrote in the Yediot Aharonot daily. “He was also shown plans that were prepared ... in advance of a possible operation.” At Nov. 11’s Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Israel was “prepared to intensify its response.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Israeli official confirmed Netanyahu was meeting ambassadors “to prepare them for the possibility that, if need be, Israel will act in a more robust manner to protect its people.”

Israeli daily Jerusalem Post quoted politicians with mixed views about an attack on Gaza. Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich, told Army Radio: “We are on the eve of elections ... It could be that such an operation is necessary, but not now.” On the contrary, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said that the upcoming election should not deter the military from a wide-scale operation in Gaza.

Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz said the best policy to stop Hamas was to target and assassinate the organization’s leaders. “We achieved great deterrence with the policy of targeted killings,” Mofaz said in an interview with Army Radio.